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Getting back on the bike
Donna Krug

The slightly warmer temps and gusty winds can only mean one thing. Spring is just around the corner. For me that means getting back on the bike for my daily commutes to work. The ride to work gives me a chance to feel, see and hear God’s beautiful creation. The pink sky this morning was incredible! And now, with Walk KS starting today, the minutes I ride each day will contribute to our work teams’ goal to exercise regularly. 

As a member of the Be Well Barton County task force I’m excited to report that Pilot Club of Great Bend is donating two bicycle helmets to each elementary school in Barton County. I will accompany a Pilot Club member to each school and we plan to present a short assembly about the importance of protecting your head with a helmet when riding a bike. The statistics strongly indicate that head injuries can be less severe or even eliminated when a properly fitted helmet is worn in an accident. 

My part of the program will be to review the safe rules of riding to young cyclists. Things like:

• Ride on the right side of the street or road, not in the middle or the left side.

• When riding on a sidewalk, the pedestrian always has the right-of-way.

• Use hand signals to indicate turns or slowing down. 

• Be aware of vehicles backing from a parking stall or someone opening a car door in your path.

• At busy intersections, get off your bike and walk it across the street following the traffic signals.

• There are so many distracted drivers so ride defensively!

Our goal with the school visits is two-fold. We want to impress the importance of following bicycle safety rules and protecting their heads with a properly fitted helmet. I want to also impress on the students what a great activity regular bicycle rides are. Many of the students have seen my husband John, and I, riding our tandem bike all over town. Even though those rides are on hold at the moment, while John is healing from a broken hip, we are planning to get back on the bike. We still have a goal to ride in all 50 states and we have two state left on our list.

Our visit to the schools will be timed so that we can encourage students to participate in the National Walk and Bike to School Day which is set for Wednesday May 6th. The annual event is meant to bring together families, school officials, public health and law enforcement representatives and community leaders to celebrate the benefits of biking or walking to school. 

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or